Saturday, August 31, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation part 9 :: Framehart Campout

Do you know the Frames?  They are an awesome family.  We really like spending time with them.  In fact, one time Noah said, "When we're with the Frames we should call our whole group the Frameharts.  Or...the Lames."    That right there is typical Framehart humor.

I have been grieving since November because that's when the Frames moved away.  But!  That's also when Becky and I decided that our families would definitely go camping together this summer.

The Linharts are not very experienced campers.  The Frames are experts.  So we borrowed a tent from some other good friends.  And the Frames set up an amazing camping experience for all of us.

Here's our campsite.  Our tent is on the right.  It could have held both the smaller tents inside.  It was awesome.

Miles liked it so much he did a little camping dance.

And he wanted to show you the tent. 

You can open it up!

And go inside!

We brought a bunch of glow necklaces for the kids.  The first night I peeked inside the tent to check on sleeping Miles.  This is what I saw.

And this is what I saw with the flash.   Silly boy.  With badly chapped lips.  They're better now.

Geary was our main dishwasher.  I was his main helper.   The Frames set up a pretty cool camp kitchen.

We mostly just hung out.  We played games.  We talked.   Becky brought her guitar and we sang together.  The boys got along famously.  It was blissful.

Noah and the Frame boys are all around the same age.  But they're pretty good at letting the littles play with them.   I love how the Frameharts feel like one big family.   I think that's kind of rare.

We camped near Mount St. Helens and took a day trip to Johnston Ridge Observatory.  Ranger Hannah told us all about the total devastation caused by the eruption in 1980.  She was a very exciting story teller.

Mount St. Helens.

I told Jonathan, "Look like you're about to erupt."  So he held his breath until his face turned red.

We didn't know it until we got there but we were in Sasquatch Country!  When we passed this sign all of read, "Buried a Frame."  It wasn't until we stopped at this little tourist trap that we realized it was advertising a buried A-frame building.

This big foot statue is made of concrete and ash.

There was a little theater showing movies about the volcano.

And here's the A-frame which is buried in ash and mud.  I think the No Smoking sign is a little ironic.

And here's a cute family picture.  Just kidding, that's not really me.

We loved camping with the Frames.  I think we'll need to make it an annual tradition.  Thank you, Frames, for being such awesome camp guides.  We can't wait for next Framehart reunion!

Friday, August 30, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation Part 8 :: Old Fashioned Festival

The Old Fashioned Festival every summer is a big deal in our little town.  There is a carnival, tons of live music, a bunch of vendors selling their wares or advertising their businesses, a food truck village, a dog show, parades, dance performances, fireworks and more.  This year, Geary coordinated the booth for our town's Historical Society.  They had photos and maps and dvds with lots of interesting information for about the history of our town.  I had my jewelry set up with a friend's booth but since Geary had to be at his booth a lot I couldn't hang out in the jewelry booth very much.  Somebody had to stay with the kids.  Poor Noah came down with a little heat exhaustion that weekend, too, so it was good that I could stay home to help him recover.  He was fine after a few days of rest.

This year the main parade route started right behind our house.  As we were crossing through our back yard I suddenly remembered that we should grab a bag for the candy that the parade participants toss to kids.  Geary pointed out an empty 5 gallon bucket in our yard and said, "Why don't we just use this?"  I laughed and said, "Sure!"  

We looked pretty silly with our camp chairs and 5 gallon bucket sitting right on the curb.  I joked that we must look very optimistic but the joke was on me because our kids were the very first children the parade participants would see and since they had fresh stocks of candy and were full of excitement for the parade to begin, they were very generous with their offerings.

Here is a sampling of our favorite parade moments:

A family friend dressed up as Captain America

Johnny Appleseed

It's not the Old Fashioned Parade without a bagpipe!

Super cool old cars

A senior drill team!  They were awesome.

And a senior marching band.  Also, impressive.

Here you can see our 5 gallon bucket is already pretty full.  
We were given comic books, water bottles, mardi gras beads, frisbees, bouncy balls, coupons, and tons of candy.  
And this was only at the start of the parade!

These motorcycles were pretty cool.  They had two wheels in the front and one in the back.

The pumpkin launcher!  We're looking forward to seeing this in action in October.

There were a bunch of tractors in all different sizes.  Those tires were ENORMOUS!

Another bagpiper.

This costume troupe was really fun.

Another Captain America.   I guess these guys perform at parties and events.  Pretty cool.

There was a boxing match on a float!

This funny two wheeled car.

Check out the bucket now.  Almost totally full.  Miles also had a cup overflowing with candy.

More cool old cars.
Square dancing!

The candy just kept coming.  

Minature horses!  Toby was in awe.

By the end of the parade we had this much candy and loot.  It was a little insane.

Some smart businesses passed out toothbrushes instead of candy.  And don't worry, we let the kids pick out their favorites and we got rid of the rest.  Nobody needs that much sugar!

We watched the fireworks from our backyard with bowls of ice cream.  It was an amazing show, like always.   I made a few jewelry sales and Geary said he felt that his booth was successful, too.  The best part is always just the sense of community and seeing the whole town come out to celebrate and have some fun.  Ah, small town life!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation Part 7 :: Sea Gypsy

Our second big vacation of the summer was to Lincoln City.   My mom rented two units at the Sea Gypsy condominiums, one for us and one for her and my brother.  The location was perfect!  Right next to the D River and right on the beach.  We had fabulous views of the ocean and the condos were well stocked with everything we needed for the beach.  We also enjoyed the swimming pool there.

We visited the Devil's Punchbowl and I completely failed to take a picture of it.  But I got these shots of the boys in a tree that's on the little walking trail by the cliffs.  Silly boys. 

One of my favorite memories from that trip was seeing some surfers in the water.  The waves were really low and most of the surfers didn't stand up to ride them in.  But we saw one guy just waiting and waiting for a good wave.  It was really exciting for us when he found one and surfed toward the beach.  When he stood up we all cheered aloud.  It was really satisfying to see him succeed.

We also stopped by the Hatfield Marine Science Center.  I had never been before and it's awesome!  The kids got to build a little lego town and then send a tsunami to wash it away.  There was a giant octopus, tons of fish to look at and a bunch of hands on exhibits.  

Of course, they loved exploring this tiny yellow submarine outside, too.

I actually didn't take any pictures inside because we were so busy exploring.

Way to rock the socks and sandals, Noah.  You truly are from the Northwest.

After the Science Center we went on to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  I found this coupon (which expires at the end of September) that gets one child in for free with an adult admission.  So we printed three coupons and split the boys up among the adults. 

This next picture almost looks like a scene out of Star Trek.

They loved climbing over all the rocks and statues.

I wish I had been in video mode for this one.  Miles was shouting gleefully, "We're riding a fish!!"

I love the Shark Tunnel at the the Newport Aquarium.  It's so cool.  And really peaceful.

There was this one tube of coral in The Sea & Me exhibit that was really pretty.  I didn't notice these horses for a long time, they were so camouflaged. 

But the more I looked, the more I saw.

The tube was filled with sea horses.

Our family loves the Wii game "Go Vacation."  In the Scuba Diving games you get points for finding fish and other sea creatures.  It was really fun at the aquarium because we recognized a bunch of sea creatures and knew their names before even reading the aquarium plaques.  Like this giant Japanese Spider Crab.  These babies can get up to 12 feet long!  But this one was probably about 4 or 5 feet.

I am super attracted to jellyfish.  Thankfully, the aquarium had several varieties.  These tiny bubble ones.

Moon jellies.

And my favorites, the orange Sea Nettles.

We also saw a beautifully active octopus.  And tons and tons of other sea life.  It was a really fun visit.

Of course, we played at the beach, too!  I mentioned before that our location was perfect.  Right outside our condo the D River met the ocean and created this wonderful play space.  The river water was slightly warmer than the ocean water and I loved that our boys could wade and gather up water in their buckets without having to deal with waves.

Proof that I was at the beach.  Noah painted my toenails orange.  He did a good job.

We carved our initials in the sand.  Messily.

And then the boys wanted to carve their initials.  Here's Noah's.  And the drawing next to it is pun.  It's a guy IN JAIL.  Because his initials are N J L.

Toby spelled out his whole name.

And Miles?

Well, he had other ideas...

Like carving circles around his feet while spinning in place.

Here's a cute video of his sand play.

Granny and the boys explored the river bed.  In fact, Noah and Toby walked with her all the way up the entire river to Devil's Lake!  

We made some cool sand sculptures. Like this octopus.

And this octopus.

And our masterpiece, this sea turtle.

Every time we went back to the beach we expected to see that it had been washed away or stepped on or had its decorations removed.  But nobody touched it!  The seaweed got dried out but otherwise our turtle remained intact.  

Don't you love the sunsets near the ocean? We had some gorgeous ones.

I was playing around with my camera trying to get some good silhouette shots.

They didn't really turn out how I thought but I still love them.  And this boy!  The camera loves him.

That ribbon of light above the clouds was amazing.

Such beauty.  

On our last full day we visited Devil's Lake.  I was excited to see this enormous Sea Monster sculpture!

The boys were excited to see an enormous play structure!

I love these next pictures of the boys with Granny and Uncle Jared.

I wish I had set the camera timer so Geary and I could have jumped in for a family picture.

Noah pushing Uncle Jared down the hole.

Surf "board"

Geary and I did manage to get a couple shots of ourselves.  This one is my favorite.

And this one is Geary's.

On our way out of the park we found this funny wood chair.  

We also explored shops, found some treasures at a thrift store, ate salt water taffy, went to great restaurants (Mo's and McMenamins) and one not so great (Lil Sambo's).  We visited bookstores and admired glass fishing floats and played board games and just enjoyed each other.  It was wonderful.

Sigh, I already miss Lincoln City.  It was such a great trip.  Lots of relaxing, lots of playing, lots of exploring new places.  We had a fabulous time.  Thank you so much, Granny, for everything!  We loved spending time with you and Uncle Jared.   We can't wait to do it again!